Michigan hospital pays $791k to resolve false billing allegations

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Crittenton Hospital Medical Center in Rochester, Mich., agreed Monday to pay $791,047 to settle false claims allegations, according to The Detroit News.

The settlement resolves claims that the hospital and its cancer center violated the False Claims Act by billing payers for unnecessary laboratory tests performed on patients of Frank Fata, MD.

In September 2014, Dr. Fata admitted he prescribed and administered unnecessary chemotherapy, cancer treatments, intravenous iron and other infusion therapies to patients to increase his billings to Medicare and private payers. Through the scheme, Dr. Fata submitted approximately $225 million in claims to Medicare from August 2007 to July 2013. In July 2015, Dr. Fata was sentenced to 45 years in prison.

According to the Department of Justice, Dr. Fata and other physicians in his office referred patients to Crittenton for lab tests between 2011 and 2013. A former administrator of Dr. Fata's office notified the DOJ of the fraudulent billing. Subsequently, the hospital and its parent, St. Louis-based Ascension Health, voluntarily disclosed to the DOJ that lab tests were not medically necessary.

"We remain committed to cooperating with the Department of Justice on these matters that occurred prior to Crittenton becoming part of our health system," Ascension Michigan spokesman Brian Taylor told The Detroit News. "Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the patients and their families."

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